Monday, February 29, 2016

Gilman: The mining town in Colorado that got so contaminated it had to be abandoned

The ghost town of Gilman, Colorado sits at an elevation of 8950 ft (2,700 m) on a dramatic 600-foot (180 m) cliff above the Eagle River on the flank of Battle Mountain. It was founded in 1886, during the Colorado Silver Boom. John Clinton, a prospector, judge, and speculator from nearby Redclliff developed the town and the nearby mining operations when gold and silver were discovered in two vertical chimneys at the Ground Hog Mine, which continued to produced gold and silver ore until the 1920s. By 1899, it had a population of approximately 300, as well as a newspaper, called the Gilman Enterprise.

During the early 20th century, the mining operations transitioned increasingly to zinc, although the Eagle Mine was still the leading producer of silver in the state in 1930. The mining district became the richest and most successful in Eagle County. Between the 1940s and 1980s, zinc was the principal product of the mines. 

By the 1980s the mining operations had become unprofitable and the ground water contaminated. In 1984 Gilman was abandoned by order of the Environmental Protection Agency because of toxic pollutants. Since then the town has been vandalised and the main street has been heavily tagged. It is said that there are no intact windows left anywhere in the city anymore. However, many parts of the town remain almost as they were when the mine shut down. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Mexican church, half buried in lava

In the early days of the year 1943 and for several weeks, residents of San Juan Parangaricutiro town, in the Mexican state of Michoacán started hearing noises similar with thunder. These noises didn't come from the blue, cloudless sky but from the earth beneath them. The noises were followed by earthquakes which grew in number day by day. 

On February 20th, the earth cracked and a 2-meter (6.5 inches) tall volcanic cone formed in the middle of a cornfield. By the next day the cone of Parícutin volcano had grown 50 meters (60 feet) tall and was ejecting ash and smoke. The volcano's growth and activity continued for months until it reached a height of 200 meters (650 feet) in June. This is when it started ejecting lava which moved towards the village of San Juan Parangaricutiro. 

The residents had enough time to evacuate as the lava moved slowly and no life was lost. They all moved to a new location 30 km (18 miles) away forming a new town named Nuevo (New) San Juan Parangaricutiro. The old town was eventually buried under feet of volcanic rock. The only building that stands over the lava until today is the town's church. Being the town's tallest and perhaps the most solid building, saved part of the church from the wrath of lava.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned churches // More abandoned places in Mexico // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Atlantis of the East: The Chinese underwater city of Shi Cheng

Deep inside the Qiandao Lake in the Zhejiang Province of China, 400 km (250 miles) south of Shanghai, lies the ancient submerged city of Shi Cheng (Lion City). The city was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25–200) and was first set up as a county in AD 208. The city was named Chi Cheng from the nearby Wu Shi Mountain, located just behind the city. 

The valley surrounding the city was flooded in 1959 to create the Qiandao lake (also known as Thousand Island lake) for the Xin'an River Dam project. Nearly 300,000 people had to relocate for the project, some of whom had families that had lived in the area for centuries. 

The Lion City was rediscovered in 2001 when the Chinese government organised an expedition to find the remains of the ancient metropolis. In 2011, the Chinese National Geography published some never-before-seen photographs and illustrations which raised international interest for the lost city, with many calling it "the Atlantis of the East". 

Today, Shi Cheng remains submerged at a depth of 26-40 meters (85- 131 feet) and measures about half a square kilometer (123 acres). Expeditions have revealed that the city had five entrance gates, as opposed to the traditional four – with two western-facing gates as well as gates in the other cardinal directions. The city’s wide streets also have 265 archways, featuring preserved stonework of lions, dragons, phoenixes and historical inscriptions, some of which date back as far as 1777.

Even though it is submerged, Shi Cheng has remained well preserved as the water actually protects the ruins from wind, rain and sun erosion. The city isn't yet fully mapped so the diving into it is considered exploratory and limited to only advanced divers who can visit it between April and November. 

SEE ALSO: More underwater abandoned places // More abandoned places in China // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, February 15, 2016

Michigan Central Station: The most iconic abandoned building of Detroit

The abandoned Michigan Central Station is one of Detroit's most iconic buildings. Just like the Motor City, the station has its own story of rise and decline.

Michigan Central Station opened on January 4, 1914. It was designed by the architects of New York City's Grand Central Terminal in a Beaux-Arts Classical styleMichigan Central Railroad owned and operated what was then the tallest railway station building in the world. It was a time when no one could foresee the growing trend towards increased automobile use, which explains the large size of the station. And indeed, in the first years of operation more than 200 trains left the station each day and lines would stretch from the boarding gates to the main entrance. Among notable passengers arriving at MCS were Presidents Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt, actor Charlie Chaplin and inventor Thomas Edison.

During World War II the station was used heavily by military troops. After the war though, the decline in railway travel began as more and more people would use cars for vacation or other travel. Service to the station was cut back and several unsuccessful attempts to sell the building were made in the 1950's and 1960's. By then, the station's restaurant and several shops were closed, as was the biggest part of the waiting room, and only 2 ticket windows would serve passengers.

When Amtrak took over the station in 1971 there were attempts to restore MCS to its old glory. The main waiting room and and entrance were reopened and a $1.25 million renovation project started in 1978. Six years later though the building was sold to a transportation company which decided to shut it down. The last Amtrak train departed from Michigan Central Station on January 6, 1988, 74 years and 2 days after the station opened.

During the last 3 decades there has been a lot of discussion about the station's future. Many potential uses have been proposed, among them the redevelopment of the station into a trade processing center, a convention center and casino, or Detroit Police headquarters. In 2009 Detroit City Council asked for the demolition of MCS even though the station has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Starting in 2009 works to renovate the station have started by the building's owners. Among them, the removal of asbestos, internal demolition work, removal of water, broken glass and other debris, electricity restoration, and installation of a freight elevator. In 2015, works for the installation of more than 1,000 windows in the building's exterior began. However, there is still no set plan for a future use of the station.

Meanwhile, Michigan Central Station has been featured in films such as Transformers, The IslandNaqoyqatsi and Four Brothers as well as Eminem's music videos. Photographers and urban explorers have been visiting the station for years, making it an iconic example of ruins photography.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned places in Detroit and around Michigan // More abandoned places in the United States // More abandoned railway stations and trains // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Horror Labs: The abandoned Anderlecht Veterinary School

It looks like a set of a horror film. The abandoned labs of Anderlecht Veterinary School in Brussels is one of the creepiest deserted places we've seen. The veterinary school was based in a complex of 19 Flemish neo-Renaissance style buildings, constructed in the early 20th century. In 1969 it was incorporated into the University of Liège, losing its independence.

The veterinary school abandoned the building in 1991, moving to the Sart-Tilman district of Liège. What was left behind though amazed urban explorers for years. Heads, brains and various other anatomical samples of kittens, dogs, rats and pigs decaying inside jars filled with formaldehyde. Around them, bottles with unknown fluids, syringes and other old, rusty medical equipment.

By late 2014, most of those specimens were removed as the buildings were under renovation. The site of the old veterinary school is going to be turned into executive apartments.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned schools and universities around the world // More abandoned places in Belgium // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

An old fishing hut in the lake

This old fishing hut was built in the crystal clear waters of Germany's Obersee lake. The lake is inside the Berchtesgaden National Park, in the mountainous area of Berchtesgaden Alps, very close to the borders with Austria. The national park was established in 1978 to protect this area of natural beauty. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned places in Germany // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Monday, February 1, 2016

Inside Costa Concordia cruise ship

View on Google Maps (as of February, 2016)

It all started on the evening of January 13th, 2012. The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, carrying 4,252 people on its first leg of a Mediterranean cruise, struck an underwater rock while sailing too close to Isola del Giglio island, off the coast of Italy. The ship started capsizing and an evacuation effort began with the assistance of locals as well as the Italian Air Force. While most people made it to shore safely, 32 passengers and crew died during the disaster.

In the following months, one of the largest and most expensive (its total cost reached $1.2 billion) salvage operations ever commenced, aiming to refloat and remove the half-sunk cruise ship. Using huge sponsons attached to its sides as well as an underwater steel platform, Costa Concordia took an upright position on September 2013 and was finally refloated in July 2014. The ship was finally towed to the port of Genoa where it was moored against a wharf that had been specially prepared to receive the vessel for dismantling. This operation is expected to last several years. 

Since 2014 only a handful of photos from the interior of Consta Concordia have been published, mainly by the Italian Carabinieri. Last year, German photographer Jonathan Danko Kielkowski swam 200 metres to the ship and jumped on board for a photoshoot. In his photos we see that much of the ship's furniture and equipment remain on board. Among them, luggage, wheelchairs, prams and other personal belongings of passengers who abandoned the ship on that January night four years ago.

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